Tag Archives: women

It won’t be forever

Don’t Walk Away

Many people I’ve loved, truly loved, have walked out of my life. At 31 years, I expect it to be an occurrence that will happen more than a few times going forward. My Grandmother was afflicted with dementia. The year before she died, I traveled to Arizona to escort her back to the east coast. I had shaved my head, and grew a goatee, but she remembered me (even though she thought I was going to fly the plane home). She barely remembered anyone anymore, but she knew who I was.

When she passed, she did not go quickly. For a week I sat by her bedside, talking to her, and holding her hand; she made me cry many times during this exchange.

“I want to go home…” she said.

“You can go.” I told her. “But I’ll miss you.” She aimed her face at me, that same face the told me to listen in church, and assured me everything would be ok, and once told me I’d have enemies everywhere, but I was the one that I needed to worry about; I could almost feel her hands, like paper, touching me, assuring me.

“It wont be forever.” She smiled.

That stuck with me. Now, I can convince myself it was the dementia, but with eyes closed she told me “It wont be forever.” Her mind may have meant something else, but to me it didn’t, it wont ever be forever.

One day, she held my hand. I’m sure she was asleep, I’d been sure of it for days, but she squeezed, she introduced me to her parents, whoM I had never met and had passed many years before, but she wanted me to meet them so badly. She’d sleep while I read Neil Gaiman to her. She smiled from time to time, and I told her stories from when we were both younger.

When she passed she knew everything I said, and she had a lifetime of people waiting for her. Anyone who knew her would expect no less than an army of souls waiting to greet her.

One of the last days I waited by her bedside, there were a small group of people at her bedside, holding hands and letting her know we were there. An old friend, Barbara, came to her. She held her hand, and stroked her hair; I sat in my same chair on my grandmother’s right side. From her left, Barbara said to her:

“You might not remember me, but I sure do remember you”

In my memory, she smiled. But I don’t know if that’s true. I don’t care, really, I just care that she smiled. “I sure do remember you.’

I couldn’t even scratch the surface of what she did, of the person she was; and who she will always be to me. She anchored me; and I’m sorry she will never see the man I might become. Any belief I carry in me, is not for me its for her. So she might be there to see what happens to a sheep; so very lost by its Shepard.

Frances Barnett was loved. She was my grandmother; and because of her, three children, and seven grandchildren, and a gaggle of great grandchildren that might not remember what a hero actually looks like, I will remember her; she left us one day in October, I’ll miss her, but she taught me, “it wont be forever.”

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Working Title

Expanded short story, source material “Bed Song” by Amanda Palmer- rough draft.

Somnolent Sea

Exhibit A 

There were a half dozen people in that small apartment, I knew only one of them; but that wasn’t the one to hand me that red cup.  I looked up to follow the arm of the person handing me my drink.  He smiled shyly behind dark curls, and at once I was completely aware that his finger touched mine as I closed my hand around the ridges of the shiny cup.  That one digit that brushed against my fingertip, cooling my nail as it released that one subtle drink into my hand.

The party happens around us, as if we’re locked in that time.  Ocean currents rise and fall around me.  We don’t sit together, but all I can see is his movements; so slow and fluid in that dirty apartment around the blur of those other people.  I can hear the sounds of people singing.  In the kitchen, there’s a dirty metal cage with a small animal, we laugh drunkenly at its little hands as our host hand food off to it; its small eyes staring out at us at it feeds, watching us precipitously.

The night passed, the attendance thinned.  We each found our little section of floor to sleep; I can remember how cold it was, there on that bare floor, my coat failing miserably as a pillow.  He had a giant sleeping bag, and he promised to be a gentleman.  I was so cold I bundled into that huge bag.  I turned my back towards him and curled into a ball, as small as I could.   He extended his arms above his head, careful not to touch me uninvited.  He had a pillow he had procured from the couch; it smelled of time, and parties that had come before I had been here, and he shared that square with me as I fell asleep, I could feel his breath on my neck, my hair sticking to his lips.  So small, this sleeping bag, but he made sure there was me an gulf between us.

Exhibit B

Our apartment is a large version of that floor at that party, so far away now.  We don’t speak to the hosts of that party anymore, it feels like we only talk to each other.  Our sleeping bag has evolved into a mattress in the bedroom of our studio; it rests on the floor in the far corner, no frame or box spring.  We are the frames here.  Our furniture is sparse, most of it imaginary utilities from shipping crates and boxes. We have a table made out of television cable spools, and duct tape secures everything.  The door to our bedroom is a blanket, pinned to the door frame, and that seals us from the outside, but it was ours; it blocked the them from the us in here.

Everything is held together, so much work to make things feel like home.  When the days wind down, and we sleep, he always turns towards the wall.  How such a tall, long frame can fold itself, like origami, into such a small supine child-fetal and hugging into the wall, an abandoned body in a blizzard, trying to keep warm; bristling that spine against the world.  I lay on my back, with an ocean between us.

I wonder what is the matter, why he pulls so far away.  Our home is an open island, they could hear us have sex through that blanket door, but we haven’t done that in ages.  I lay there with all that distance and all these seas, and I couldn’t love him any more than I do.  I wonder have we met the worse before the better? My hand creeps slowly towards his shoulder, but I stop before I touch that skin, as if his skin would wake me from the dream I’m in.  I would have held him, if only he’d let me.

Exhibit C

The years have passed, and we’ve grown up from those adults we were.  We have gifted ourselves into this flat that we live in.  One day, I walk slowly up those stairs; even with the carpet of our condo, I still feel the cold wooden hallway of that apartment, and the stark floor from our party and the flesh of our sleeping bag that held so many oceans at bay.

As I turn the corner into our bedroom, where we’ve always been since the day we met, I see the vast expanse of mattress that wasn’t there before.  He’s had a mattress delivered, it’s like a new home, new banks to our ocean and my heart fills like piano notes on marble floors.   I slowly wrap my arms around myself; I spin, letting my chin fall into my shoulder imagining he was there with me, with that spinning and that piano, his imaginary lapel at my cheek.

He enters the room, and all I can feel is my heartbeat.  He straightens the covers on our new bed, his blanket, and my sheets.

And all I can wonder is what is the matter; what has always been the matter, and I finally say those words that must be the true, they could only be true.

“I would still love you”

His hands brush out a wave “What’s that?”

“I would still love you, if you wanted someone else, someone other than me”

He folds down the top of the comforter, his long fingers brushing away imaginary whitecaps and imperfections.  His blue eyes analyzing me, drawing me, I imagine he’s brushing away my imperfections.  Then he speaks:

“All the money in the world wont buy a bed so big and wide to guarantee that I wont ‘accidently’ touch you in the night”

The piano in my mind rises, and I smile, I want to spin and dance; the piano dances and spins like I did, and the piano, and the piano…

Exhibit D

It’s been so long since that flat, since that new bed.  Our bodies have started to fail, stairs are even a challenge to us, I couldn’t imagine walking down that long hallway to see that giant white bed; and we spend so much time in our ocean now with our familiar grooves, shaped like us, so much distance between us.

I don’t want to move, I don’t want to get out of that bed.  He come’s triumphantly into the room, slowly; and his long fingers turn off the light.  Pulling those forever legs into our bed, he lies down next to me, so long and thin, those black curls that hid those ice eyes from me so long ago fall onto the pillow- such a full ocean away from me.  Such a fulfilling life we’ve had, with our seas and the closest distances anyone will ever feel.  I start to reach for his shoulder, and he rolls away without seeing, rolling that frame into such a small boy that once laid on that filthy mattress, and that young man that handed me such a shiny red cup, who offered me a warm sleeping bag that I never ever got out of.

‘Don’t worry my love, I’ll take the cancer; you take the heart failure.’  So stiff and cold we lay.  I still wonder what’s the matter.  Surely this must be a matter of having the worse before the better.  I wrap myself up, my arms wrapped tightly around myself, as I feel the cold shores of that ocean between us, and the cold air that draws us here.

Exhibit E

Look how full a life we’ve lived.  We’re not our own stories anymore; we’re a giant stone, right under a massive pink-blossomed tree.  Our names carved for the next hundred years, showing where our newest ocean finds shore, and the piano…

My hair could never reach his lips anymore.  We’re sleeping like we always did, how we’ve been comfortable, apart and cold, afraid to move but to only disturb the other.  There he lay, right next to me; his back like the walls of a great cliff, smashing those waves between us. I can still feel the seawater in my eyes as I turn and look at him.  I wonder, like I’ve always wondered, and I finally say it:

“What’s the matter?  Was it always the worse before the better?”

Like the tree growing, he rolls; stretching those long limbs forever above, it’s that first night.  So careful to be a gentleman, to not invade my area, the area I only want him in.  His blue eyes drawing me, I have to force myself to keep watching him, staring at him through his study.  He’s finally facing me…

He said, “You never asked.”

“Men of Match.com”, a Brief Response

In response to ‘the men of match.com’

I stumbled upon an article on wordpress entitled “Meet the men of Match.com”.  Well written, obviously thought out and produced by a talented writer, explaining her difficulties and observations having perused a singles website while nearing her 30th birthday.  While I can not, nor would I, defend men as a gender; specifically those on a singles website, I can offer some brief observations about the opposition.

I am currently an account holder at OKCupid and Plenty of Fish.  I’m not proud of it, and I realize that POFthey may not be up to the prestige of Match.com (I can only assume, as they don’t have a commercial I’ve yet to see); but they are prolific in my area, which tends to be limited on the mainstream sites.  Delaware simply does not have many members on eHarmony, Match, et al.

I feel I should also point out; I am no longer seriously looking, so this is not driven by bitter anguish, the singles apps on my phone have turned into a source of humor, rather than actually trying to find a connection  It’s not that I can’t find anyone, quite the opposite, I have found many beautiful people in my time that I still talk to, both in the “real” world, and a few from dating sites;  Moreover, I have simply given up looking because put into perspective: I don’t need someone else to complete me, and I’m perfectly happy and comfortable alone.  There’s more to that, but I digress.  My experiences with most dating sites have ultimately not helped dissuade that decision.

For example, when loading up the Plenty of Fish homepage to research this response, I am confronted with 16 of “My Matches”.  Five of them are pictures of either kittens, cats or dogs.  At this point I should note that I am on a dating site that is ostensibly, for adults.

The proliferation of puppy dogs, kittens and the starting characteristics of “crazy cat ladies” plentiful enough to populate the eastern seaboard is enough to scare most of the fabled “good guys” to the hills.  In looking for a mate, cat litter and lint rollers before work are not a good sell point, and nothing sells a quiet night at home quite like cleaning up furballs hacked into the kitchen hallway halfway through dinner.

“But my cat doesn’t get furballs”

Yes it does.  They all do.  Except maybe those hairless ones, I’ve never actually met one, but it probably finds fur too.

“I’m an independent woman, I don’t need no man” (but I’m on a singles site)

That’s like riding a bicycle into a car lot, browsing, then yelling at the salesperson.

Quickly: just because you may be single does NOT make you an independent woman.  It means you’re single; you’re independent because you have to be or you’d die; if it were a choice you made on your own you wouldn’t be on a dating site desperately seeking someone.  Sorry.

Let us mention weight for a moment.  I realize that not everyone has time, conditioning or resolve for a five-day exercise regiment.  I also realize that everyone has an ideal “type”, and some may pursue those with a bit more “fluff” than others.  I also have a pretty strong opinion that if I love someone, I’d like them to be survive for a while, and the type of self mutilation-by-BMI that is so common in the current female population (also, possibly an East Coast thing?) is not conducive to long lives.  Beyond that, there is a stunning, I repeat: STUNNING amount of self-confidence displayed in the dozen or more self portraits these wildebeests so happily post, flaunting their wares, while looking for their “other half”, but obviously showing they already possess their 200% in body mass alone.

From my experience, and as usual, your mileage may vary; there are 3 common types of women I have seen on dating sites:

These are my children, they come first

They already have kids, and the kids come first.  Yeah, they should.  It goes with the territory, and you don’t get points for doing what you’re supposed to be doing (taking care of your children.)  That’s fine, I would fully expect, should there be a house fire- you’ll wake them up first (unless you need something heavy lifted, or a spider killed first: in which case I’ll probably be the first on your list).  Telling an anonymous with whom you may be trying to start a relationship about it on a dating website before they’ve even messaged you is simply aggressive.  It’s just rude.  I don’t want anything to do with your kids, especially before I’m sure I can stand you, let alone your children.  I’d imagine, in general; telling me they come first means you don’t get a lot of messages anyway, save the few Neanderthals that made the connection that children means you’ve put out at LEAST that many times…

Also, unless their father is dead or incarcerated; having children means that your possible suitor needs to understand there may come a time when an uncomfortable meeting may occur.  It’s not out of the realm of possibility to say that should “Contestant #1” be around, or introduced to your children, there may be some type of drama in the future, perhaps its in your best interest to be a bit more understanding, and approach new people in a romantic environment with a bit more dignity.

While we’re on the subject, greater than 50% of your pictures should not be of your children.  This is a dating site, if the man is that interested in what your children look like- that’s creepy.  A simple “I have children” will suffice. Thank you.

Pictures of just the pets

cat

Really? No, honestly, WHY does anyone think that’s a solid decision?  Aren’t you here to tell about yourself, show what you’re looking for, your interests etc?  No one cares what your dog looks like, unless you need someone to fuck the dog…

I writs lyke diz and uz kant stop me cuz

These people are in their 30’s.  They vote.  They’re raising the next generation of single people.

EyeFinally, in regards to profile pictures, please: have a friend help you select them.  If it’s a mirror shot of your butt, your profile should have zero comments about how you’re not looking for sex.  That ad should be on craigslist, not a dating site.  It should not be from 6 miles out, and it certainly shouldn’t be a closeup of your eye.  I would assume the picture you’ve posted, especially the profile shot, is the best of the bunch; it should clearly show what you look like, or what someone could expect on a first date.  Some look like they were taken at the base of Mount Doom, have horrible lighting, or ran through Instagram filters a dozen or more times.  That doesn’t help anyone get a clear impression of what you may look like.  What YOU may look like, if the picture is of seven people, for the love of God the caption should point out which one is you…

In closing, while I understand online dating is frustrating, and trust me, I’m sure men are frauds online and in person, it’s a two-way street.  Ultimately, the decision to be single is not a forbidden one, and the advancement of ones biological clock is not a reason to put yourself in a position to choose from a flock of suitors that have had the time to present themselves in the best light their imaginations could create while sitting in front of a keyboard.  They suggested zip-lining because it sounds fun, dammit, most of them have probably never done it!  Find the ones that can speak clearly, present themselves as well as possible, and give them a chance.